This article is based on cherry picking from my 2012 testimony before the HASC Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities which can be accessed at this link: http://armedservices.house.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, America launched the global war against terrorism, specifically targeting the leaders of the al-Qaida network and its regional affiliate in Southeast Asia, the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). The Philippines became a theater in this American global campaign against terrorism after it was determined that the notorious Mindanao-based kidnap group Abu Sayyaf maintained close relations with leaders of the JI.In a changed world environment, America decided it needed to recast its military presence in countries that were battling terrorism. New experiences were sought in the battle against this scourge. In the Philippines, Mindanao was chosen as a suitable laboratory in which new models of irregular warfare could be tested. Under “Operation Enduring Freedom,” America offered advice and assistance in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism to selected allies. A corollary of this campaign was the formation in several countries of missions called “Joint Special Operations Task Forces.” The Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) was organized in 2002, one of the first to be set up by the American global security state. (Interestingly, the JSOTF-P withdrew from Mindanao a month after the Mamasapano debacle.)